Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Helen Frankenthaler, radical abstract painter..

Helen Frankenthaler (c) ArtStory
Thanks, Peter for your post on the sad death of Helen Freankenthaler, she was the last of the Abstract Expressionists and a good friend of our John Hoyland. Her work, along with Joan Mitchell, has been redefined in recent years and we have a much greater understanding of their contribution to the lasting legacy of that great American abstract movement some sixty years ago. It was her revolutionary staining technique that Frankenthaler and her contemporaries Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland, also known as 'Post Painterly Abstraction' shall be remembered for.

I first came across her when at art school during the presentation of the art documentary 'Painters Painting' by Emile de Antonio (see above, scoll along to 2:25). I was first struck by her elegance and articulate nature which is captured in this little clip from the fifties. This work below is her most renowned piece from 1952, which explores her staining technique.

Helen Frankenthaler, 'Mountains and Sea', oil on canvas, 1952


  1. A great painter - the show at Bernard Jacobson a little while ago was fantastic. Incidentally there is a Joan Mitchell (I think on loan) at the Tate which is great, though almost completely isolated in the hang.

  2. yes, it's good one at the Tate, they should have retrospective of Mitchell and Frankenthaler at Tate Mod, long over due....